Iranian Tigers at War

Northrop F-5A/B, F-5E/F and Sub-Variants in Iranian Service since 1966

Babak Taghvaee

Date Published :
July 2015
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
c 150 color and b/w photos, color profiles, maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781910294130
Pages : 72
Dimensions : 11.5 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available
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The development of the F-5 lightweight supersonic fighter in the mid 1950s was almost a gamble for the Northrop Corporation, but ultimately resulted in one of most commercially successful combat aircraft in modern history. Iran was one of its major export customers, yet the long and often violent history of deployment of the F-5 in that country has largely escaped attention of historians. No less than 309 aircraft of five major variants of the jet – the F-5A, F-5B, RF-5A, F-5E and F-5F – have provided the backbone of the front line strength of the Iranian Air Force since the mid 1960s. Additional examples were clandestinely purchased from Ethiopia and Vietnam in the 1980s. The type bore the brunt of combat operations during the long war with Iraq, 1980-1988, and remains a mainstay of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force as of today. This breathtaking account provides a detailed chronological history of the F-5 in combat service in Iran, a history dominated by long-range strikes against some of best defended targets inside Iraq, and by thousands of dramatic close-air-support and reconnaissance sorties, but also fierce air combats against the then most modern fighter types in Iraqi service, including the MiG-23s and MiG-25s. It is completed with practically unknown stories of their combat presence in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the war against drug traffickers in recent years. Good though the F-5 has been, the advances of domestic Iranian aircraft building companies have resulted in attempts to continue the F-5 line with further redesign and developments, resulting in a number of indigenous variants. Combined, this means that the diverse and involved story about one of most interesting military aircraft of modern times is still far from over.

The author's detailed text is fully supported by an extensive selection of photographs and color profiles.

Middle East@War - following on from our highly successful Africa@War series, Middle East@War replicates the same format - concise, incisive text, rare images and high quality color artwork providing fresh accounts of both well-known and more esoteric aspects of conflict in this part of the world since 1945.

About The Author

Starting his career in 2005 by the means of anonymously writing articles about the history of the Iranian Air Force for Iranian websites, Babak Taghvaee soon became an aviation journalist, book author, historian and photojournalist by publishing his articles in English and German aviation magazines such as AirForces Monthly and Combat Aircraft in 2008 and 2009 respectively. He then co-authored his first book about the Iranian Air Force in 2010. In 2011, he became one of two supervisors of the Iranian Air Force’s historical research project 'Historical Identity of IRIAF' to document the history of the force and to write books about the subject. In the same year, he was invited by one of the Iranian defence companies to work as civilian innovator and advisor of the Iranian Air Force’s aircraft upgrade projects while he was a student in two Iranian universities (as well as a journalist for several Iranian aviation magazines). Since 2013, he has written almost 100 articles, news reports and three books about the Iranian civil and military aviation industries and the Russian and Ukrainian Air Forces, as well as the air war against the ISIL in the British, French, Greek and Russian world’s leading military aviation magazines while he was living in exile.


“ … a major undertaking of a war not well understood nor studied here in Australia and the text well and truly presents much of the day to day occurrences without going into political ideology … , it provided for me an exacting account of a little known aerial war and secondly on the modeling aspect offers some unusual color schemes”

- Model Art Magazine

"The author’s credentials speak volumes. Charged with being a threat to Iranian national security, author Babak Taghvaee “was tried,” the publisher’s biographical note reveals, “in the Islamic Revolution Court but managed to flee the country in August 2013 after being released on bail. This book is a product of the Iranian Ministry of Information historical records that he managed to hide during the period of his arrest.” And what a book it is...Taghvaee’s excellent effort includes extended captions, a glossary, tables and selected bibliography. Sixteen superb color profiles by Tom Cooper also sample Iranian F-5 warpaint. Color and B&W photos further season the study. And nine maps augment action accounts. “Now, 47 years after the first Northrop F-5A/Bs entered service in Iran, 39 years after delivery of the first F-5E/Fs and nearly 20 years after their originally scheduled replacement date, five sub-variants of these two types remain in service with the air force and represent no less then 33.5% of its total fighter force. Get the whole story. Buy this brilliant little book. Rabidly recommended!"

- Cybermodeler

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